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100515 | Criticism of Asda's Hayle store poll | thisiscornwall.co.uk

As reported in The Cornishman/West Briton

Criticism of Asda's Hayle store poll

ACCUSATIONS of bias have been levelled at a poll, which prompted Asda to proclaim its plans to build a store in Hayle were "the people's choice".

More than half of those surveyed named Asda their preference out of the "big four" supermarkets, while just under half opted for the rugby club as their preferred site for a store. But some complained the telephone survey favoured Asda's proposals at the rugby club's Memorial Park site.

Howard Lyons, a university marketing lecturer, said the poll was "very skewed".

"It was innocuous to begin with – questions about the major players, giving the impression the county council was the client," he added.

"They then started talking about the advantages of free buses and the relocation of the rugby club and it became entirely obvious that Asda was the client."

Cold calling

Research company Populus conducted the survey on behalf of Asda and commissioned another company, ICM, to cold call 1,003 residents and ask 15 questions.

The results showed that 54% of respondents preferred Asda, as 78% said they did their main food shopping "out of Hayle".

When asked which site of the four proposed they would choose, 47% of respondents opted for Asda's scheme at Memorial Park. And if only one of the supermarket proposals were to be given planning permission by Cornwall Council, 61% said the planning committee should favour the ASDA proposals. ASDA spokesman Chris Marlow said: "The results of the polling are conclusive – ASDA is the people's choice in Hayle."

A spokesman for Populus said the survey was conducted "in full accordance with the Market Research Society's code of conduct".

Town Councillor Clive Polkinghorne also received a cold call from the pollsters, telling them he was a councillor and that a complaint had already been made before refusing to answer any questions.

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 09:00 Click here to read full story

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